BLHS ready for Kaw Valley League opener
It might seem odd for a football coach whose team sits on the wrong end of 18-7 and 42-7 losses to say that his team is actually ahead of where they were last year, but that's exactly what Basehor-Linwood High School coach Paul Brown is saying.
"We're further ahead than we were last year," Brown said. "If you're around sports, you'd know that even though the scores and our record don't necessarily reflect that."
The reason Brown believes that, however, is because the Bobcats have played better in their first two games this year than they did last year against the same opponents.
After dropping their first two games of the year, it's easy to assume that the Bobcats would be a little down. But fullback Joey Barlow said just the opposite is true.
"We're confident, but we have to be careful not to be cocky," Barlow said.
After two games last season, the Bobcats stood at 0-2, and then won six of their next eight games on their way to a Kaw Valley League championship. Lineman Justin Ishmael is assuming that the same will happen this season.
"This happened to us last year and we came back to go undefeated in the league," Ishmael said. "I think we'll do the same this year."
Ishmael and his teammates will get their first shot at starting league play off on the right foot, Friday, Sept. 14, when they travel to De Soto for their KVL opener.
De Soto, winless in nine games last season, stands at 1-1 this season and the Bobcats know that they aren't to be taken lightly.
"They're an improved team and they've got a couple of guys who we'll have to stop," Brown said.
In particular, Brown was talking about De Soto tailback Michael Allen and quarterback Greg Francis.
"We're going to focus on him (Allen) and they run a lot of option so we'll focus on that, too," Brown said. "But more than anything else we're going to focus on improving ourselves and we know if we do that then we'll be able to stop them."
Barlow agreed with his coach in saying that the Wildcats are a better team this season than last, but he remained confident the outcome will be in BLHS's favor.
"I think they're a better team, but they're not going to beat us," Barlow said. "The only advantage they have is that they have a pretty good running back."
From the Bobcats' point of view, Brown said their advantages lie in the running game as well.
"Up front, we have a big advantage in size and experience," Brown said. "I saw several things for us to attack on film."
Adding to BLHS's confident attitude is the fact that Friday's contest is their first league game - their first chance to defend their league title.
Barlow said the team is more than aware of that and they've been more pumped up than normal this week at practice, because this Friday is when the real season starts.
"Being a league game, it's definitely more important," Barlow said. "We were kind of upset that we couldn't practice on Monday because we're ready to get into league play."
Brown said he was encouraged by his team's confidence, and he admitted that even he is eager to get into KVL play.
"It now becomes important because one of the things we've talked about is the fact that now we begin to defend our league championship," Brown said. "The first two games don't matter. It's time to step up and defend our championship."
Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday.